Studies involving more than 220,000 people show that "nutty" diets help reduce the risk of heart disease, the leading killer of both men and women in the United States. This should come as no surprise, as nuts contain powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatories and like so many other diseases, heart disease is an inflammatory condition.
For example, consider these findings:
- The famous Seventh Day Adventists study followed more than 30,000 church members over a 12-year period. The results showed that even in this healthy-living, largely vegetarian group, those who ate nuts at least five times per week cut their risk of dying from coronary heart disease (CHD) by 48 percent, compared with those who ate nuts less than once weekly. They also cut their risk of a nonfatal heart attack by 51 percent.
- In a study involving more than 3,000 African-American men and women, those who consumed nuts at least five times a week cut their risk of dying from CHD by 44 percent, compared with those who ate nuts less than once weekly.
- The results of the 14-year Nurses' Health Study—which involved more than 86,000 women—indicate that women who consume more than five ounces of nuts weekly will cut their risk of CHD by 35 percent, compared with those who eat less than one ounce per month. (Similar reductions seen in the risk of death from CHD and non-fatal heart attacks.) And, the 17-year Physicians' Health Study involving more than 21,000 men found that those who consumed nuts at least twice a week cut their risk of sudden cardiac death by 53 percent, compared with those who rarely ate nuts. (There was no significant decrease in the risk of nonfatal heart attack or nonsudden CHD death.)